Faint fuzzies and the comet.

Swadlincote 17/12/18 C6r on Eq6 pro.

Up at 4 , lovely dark sky , no neighbouring lights . Firstly , find that elusive comet 46/P. Just over the roof and very bright with a green tinge.UMa overhead leading down to Arcturus and a full Bootes. Spotted the “ghost of Jupiter ” bright planetary nebula and the “Spindle galaxy” in Sextans , a long bright NGC 3115.

Up to Leo and a surprise to catch all three galaxies of the triplet at x90. Then some views of the Canes Venatici galaxies. M94 being the brightest easiest catch between Cor Caroli  and Chara.

Down to a very bright M3 before returning to the galaxies. I had always very much enjoyed their shapes from darker skies . Views here are mainly by averted vision, any sort of light pollution will make big aperture ineffective. From dark sky sites for instance , NGC 4449 is really resolvable.

Finished on the gorgeous crescent of Venus . Some decent skies around ! Clear skies ! Nick.

Current planetary nebulae.

Swadlincote 29/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm.13mm Nagler.

Very well worth finding , mostly brightly coloured blue to blue green.

These are very obvious in the field of view , being non stellar. You can take the brightest up to x200. Indeed the “Esquimaux Nebula” in Gemini will show its hood and central white dwarf star. I had M27 filling the field at x200. Its surprising to see the different sizes and brightness of these most beautiful nebulae .

I recall a night when Andy arrived and we hit many on this list and my details of more obscure planetaries. They blink either with direct or averted vision. Some respond very well to UHC filters.

Personally I like the names and what has happened to give us a view of these temporary features, Nick.

Pegasus stars !

Swadlincote 28/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm aperture.

Lovely clear forecast , set out the chair , looked at at a huge rainbow and heavy rain. Set up the mount at 5.30, hurrah for dark evenings.

Some chill , but superb seeing before the Moon climbed up. I reduced the aperture to 120mm to get more contrast , certainly worked. Pegasus gave some  stunning binaries.

I had a look at Bu1.  The triple in NGC 281 (“Packman nebula” in Cassiopeia). Very pleased not only to get some tight splits , but some faint companions, clear skies ! Nick.

The “Ram’s eyes” and powdered glass !

Swad. 30/9/18 C6r 22mm and 5mm LVW

Set up after 6, four forecasts promised clear skies , wall to wall. Just a thought and I covered the mount . It then rained very hard !

After the rain, a few hours before the moon. These are ace. The Cygnus clusters were just stunning !

Mesartim. What a bright stunning sight at low power. Glaring out of the dark : The “ram’s eyes”!
1 Arietis. (01h53.5 +19 18′ ) a 2.9″ split , giving yellow and blue.
λ Arietis (SAO 75051 ) yellow and blue.
30 Arietis (SAO 75471)

I got 33 Arietis with ΟΣ43 at one side . ΟΣ43 ιs a bit below one arc second. The seeing was ultra stable. I could just about squeeze out a peanut shaped diffraction disc. ( remember that we don’t actually see stars, your Optics squeeze the light into diffraction discs. By slight defocussing you can get very close bright companions to show up) Diffraction discs by defocussing are very handy for testing out refractor Optics.

I’ve marked the best of the little known Cygnus and Vulpecula clusters.They really are most spectacular , powdered glass really hits the mark here in NGC 6819.

I turned to Cygnus high in the south west as it’s opposite the moon glow. The open clusters really showed up. I’ve marked the best ones here with asterisks.There are some favourites here.

The open clusters are temporary . They don’t have the tight centres and gravity of globular clusters to hold them together. Sooner or later they drift apart to leave lonely stars. Be interesting to find out if our own Sun was part of a cluster or constellation !

The targets found are fairly easy and ideal for moonlight and other light polluted skies , Nick.

“Pacman nebula ” and clusters in Cassiopeia.

Swadlincote  29/9/18 Vixen 102 Vixen lvw 22mm and lvw 5.0 mm eps, Oiii filter.

Stunningly dark , just a quick session before the moon climbed up. 4″ aperture catches open clusters , giving good contrast and colour.

Revisited the great number of open clusters in Cassiopeia. A great range here , from wide huge sparse clusters to compact dusty ones. An amusing “Loch Ness Monster ” cluster , Cr 463 showed up rearing it’s head .

I was very surprised to catch nebulosity in NGC 281 ( IC 1590 ) with an Oiii filter. Closing into the central bright star , it resolves into the delicate triple of Burnham 1.

Psi Cassiopeiae (SAO 11751 ) showed as a delightful triple , with the paired companion. I measured h2028 with the astrometric eyepiece , getting 60″ , pretty good ! Clear skies ! Old Nick.


Theta Persei.

23rd of October and a huge Moon rising . Mars was wobbling , but both Uranus and Neptune gave green and blue coloured discs. Clusters were bleached out , its worth looking at M34 , looking like a skewed NGC 457.

Continuing with the exploration of Perseus, I revisited Theta Persei. A straight on view of the very delicate and delightful companion, just away from the main star. Then out to just under four times distant and the third star of this multiple magic.

I continued with Perseus , the sky was super stable and amazingly transparent. There was no difficulty picking out the shape of M76. There’s plenty action even in a low and full moon.Dew set in with falling temperature , time to click on dew heaters well before observing.

Looking out this morning , Capella was right overhead, Gemini high in the north and the welcome sight of Procyon swinging towards a very bright Sirius and Orion. Just a stunning winter view .

I’d venture that Σ162 is the finest triple here. Being on the boundary , it also appears in details for Andromeda.

Theta is easily spotted by eye, just follow up from M34 on this chart ,

Observing 17-18 th October.

Swadlincote 17-18/9/18 Vixen 102 on heq5pro pro mount.

What 4″ of aperture in light pollution can do.

It is a constant source of amazement and pleasure to observe targets from here. We are surrounded by some nine streetlights , neighbours with security lights and no curtains. Using poles and dark throws has quartered off an observing area. It’s also on the hedgehog highway, they have been known to trundle past through the tripod legs.

The night started very favourably with Saturn below a low yellowish Moon. Mars was still wobbling. It was great to set up about eight and finish about two. Some beautiful targets. I haven’t done the research on their stories yet.

It’s often enjoyable just to look at them. I turned to Cygnus as it passed the zenith and again caught NGC 6811 , ” the hole in the cluster” . There was good dark sky action with M27, the blue snowball, Eastern Veil and even a core to NGC 7331.

Here’s a few targets off the beaten track.

Lacerta gives the most stunning background , set in the stream of the Milky Way. Of the open clusters , NGC 7209 is an old favourite. There are some pretty delicate pairs in NGC 7394 and NGC 7245.

Onto a few binaries here , the inline h ( Herschel)1735 being triple. I was very surprised to catch a tiny field star next to the pair of 8 Lacertae. 13 Lacertae is a ticklish challenge.

Then a Star Trek to the northern constellations. NGC 7510 in Cepheus is a wondrous cluster. There is a dusty triangle at low power, like fairy dust ! NGC 7686 gave a beautiful bright shape in Andromeda. I started on the Perseus binaries . Straight away theta Persei gave the most challenging tiny spec of a companion. ΟΣ 81 and DOO 7 I caught in the same view.

No great aperture here (4″), no great magnification , going from x42 to x77 with one at x182. Next time out it’ll be trying out the Baader astrometric eyepiece, to verify some separations and ensure the capture of those elusive faint multiples, under ,

clear skies ! Nick.